The state of Washington has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 5254) that requires certain employers to accommodate an employee's voluntary usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during a public health emergency. Senate Bill 5254 is effective immediately.
Senate Bill 5254 requires every employer that does not require its employees or contractors to wear a specific type of PPE to accommodate their voluntary use of protective devices or PPE (such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks) that a worker deems necessary.
Employers must accommodate their workers' voluntary usage of PPE only during a public health emergency, and when doing so does not:
- Introduce hazards to the work environment;
- Conflict with standards for that specific type of equipment established by the Department of Health or the Department of Labor and Industries; and
- Interfere with security requirements.
An employer may verify that their workers' voluntary use of PPE meets all workplace health and safety regulatory requirements.
Washington employers should review their safety policies, practices, and supervisor training to ensure compliance with House Bill 5254. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.